One of the leading aspirants for the post of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Presidency, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN has said that he is not guilty of any misconduct as alleged by embattled Bar aspirant, Mr. Kayode Bello.

Though Maikyau is yet to respond to the current petition by Bello urging the Electoral Committee of the NBA to bar him from participating in the poll for alleged disobedience of court order among others, an earlier response by Maikyau obtained by CITY LAWYER showed that the fiery litigator had denied any misconduct.

In a detailed response to two petitions by Bello dated 13th April, 2018 and 18th May, 2018 urging the Disciplinary Committee of the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) to among others withdraw the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria from the prominent lawyer, Maikyau had urged “that the petition be dismissed as lacking merit and a mere calculated attempt to smear my reputation as a member of the Inner Bar.”

Addressed to the secretary of the Disciplinary Committee Patricia Orhomuru, Maikyau traced the genesis of his firm’s representation of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) to 2016. He said that it was not until 2017 that Bello’s file was handed to his firm following his filing of a lawsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/717/2017 against the Council of Legal Education and the Inspector General of Police. He wrote: “Thus, when the suit which gave rise to these petitions was filed by Kayode Bello, it was forwarded to us and we immediately took steps to put up representation on behalf of the CLE.”

He stated that the facts leading to the institution of the lawsuit by Bello took place on March 15, 2017 when the petitioner had an altercation with a female Nigerian Law School student over a preferred seat in the lecture hall, adding that “All entreaties by the Auditorium Marshall and Chairman of the Students’ Representative Council for the Petitioner to give up the seat for the initial occupant fell on deaf ears.”

Continuing, Maikyau stated that “Consequently, the CLE issued a query to the Petitioner dated 15th March, 2017. Rather than respond to the query, the Petitioner made allegations against the Staff and threatened in a letter dated 16th March, 2017, to petition the SDA to the CLE to the Public Complaints Commission.”

According to Maikyau, “The Petitioner also petitioned the Head, Control Room to the SDA to the CLE, which petition was widely circulated on the Nigerian Law School, Abuja campus by the Petitioner. The Petitioner thereafter, paraded himself on the campus with T-shirts bearing inciting inscriptions such as “Onadeko Must Go”. This resulted in other queries to the Petitioner.

He stated that while the Students’ Representative Council issued a disclaimer and dissociated itself from the conduct of the Petitioner, Bello was duly invited to defend himself before the Students’ Misconducts Committee. “Premised on the above queries and invitation, all of which the Petitioner refused to respond to, the CLE took a decision to evict the Petitioner from the Students’ hostel in order to avoid further breach of peace by him (the Petitioner),” wrote Maikyau. “The letter requesting the Petitioner to vacate the Hostel and attend lectures from outside the School dated 21st March, 2017 is attached as Annexure 12. Owing to the Petitioner’s unrepentant conduct, the CLE took the decision to expel the Petitioner from the Nigerian Law School by a letter dated 17th July, 2017.” He noted that the Petitioner commenced the lawsuit, apparently aggrieved by his expulsion from the school.

Tracing the history of the lawsuit and the aborted settlement between the parties in his response dated March 14, 2019, Maikyau concluded: “The foregoing are the facts and circumstances of our encounter thus far as an office with the Petitioner. I, as counsel and indeed the lawyers in my Firm in the execution of our instruction, deny conducting ourselves in any way or manner to frustrate the admonition by the Court to pursue an out of Court settlement. My colleagues and I have with all due respect, conducted ourselves with the highest level of professionalism and deference for the ethics of our noble profession. I have not in any way scuttled the reconciliation process in the above-named case and neither did I abuse the privilege conferred on me as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. On the contrary, I have striven to uphold the dignity of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria by insisting on due observance of our Rules of Professional Conduct which behoove Counsel to show respect while dealing with colleagues. We offered professional advice to the CLE and the decision not to settle this matter out of Court was entirely that of the CLE. As would be seen in the petitions and in the proceedings of Court (Annexure 32), I have had no personal interactions with the Petitioner in the course of this matter.”

Maikyau then urged the Disciplinary Committee to dismiss the petitions “as lacking in merit” and a plot to smear his reputation as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

It was unclear at press time whether Bello’s latest petition has been delivered to Maikyau for his response, even as the ECNBA has assured that the petition would be decided on its merit.

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